The 2008 edition of the Contender World Championships, in Canada, was sadly plagued by light wind – no fun for anyone, especially Contender sailors who thrive in big air. So the entrants, 112 from over 13 countries, in the 2009 series lucked out with a series that saw good breeze every day (including too much on one of the days) in Sonderborg, Denmark.
After three days of seeding, the usual suspects were up there, including Bjarke Johnsen (DEN), Andrea Bonezzi (ITA), Soren Andreasen (DEN), and Jono Neate (AUS). Thursday, the first day of the finals, had too much wind for racing (28 knots with gusts in the 30s). One sailor, making a brave effort to go out before the AP was put up, was seen to be slamming upwind through the chop, and rose up so far that the wind caught his bow and flipped him backwards! But things “settled down” on Friday for three races in a steady 20 knots of breeze.
Andrea Bonezzi, a multiple winner of the championship title, and just two points behind the leader after seeding, took a bullet in the first race, had his forestay tear out in the second, but made it back for the third race and finished second, capturing another title. He was chased hard by Neate and Jacob Lunding (DEN), but the conditions favoured the big boys. Simon Mussell (GBR) got two bullets for the day.
With that much wind, a lot of sailors had their boom vangs blow up, but as a testimony to how great and sturdy the Contender is, there was very little damage otherwise. Also very cool was that every boat was carrying a tractrac device, so that racing could be watched live. The next Contender Worlds are in January 2010 in Brisbane, Australia – containers from Europe, Italy, and the UK are almost full, so it will be about well attended championships.